I am writing this letter from Herzoganaurach,
where I am staying for about 6 weeks with my German friends, Fritz &
Hilde Bock. Perhaps our members will remember Fritz as the leader of the
Band that played annually at the Beer Fest from 1951 to 1971. Herzoganaurach
looks about the same. But at the west end of town, on the main street.
Puma built a modem headquarters building about 15 yrs ago, that does not
blend with the Bavarian Style. Next to Puma & westward, the Weiler
heavy lathe manufacturing co. & adjoining buildings have been demolished
and the land cleared for a new Senior Housing & small-store complex.
Herzo suburbs have expanded dramatically. New bypasses have been
constructed both north and south of the '-Altstadt." Cafe Mauser building
is still here - now called the Piccadiliy. But. it's closed. The building
is scheduled for demolition soon and apartments will be built in the near
future. The "Vereinshaus" still operates under the management of my good
friends, Bert & Traudi Stecker. Members may recall Bert as the manager
of the Cafe Mauser for many years.
Fritz & I drove slowly thru Herzo Base.
It was a disappointment for me. Because there is not much left to help
recall the good old days. Perhaps a few yrs ago, when the old buildings
were still standing, there would have been some nostalgia, but not anymore.
We drove thru the Main Gate. (I understand that the entrance, guard shack,
hdqtrs building & Commanders house will be preserved as Historic Buildings.)
The so-called Fishbowl housing on the left is now occupied by offices.
Next, I saw the old brown building that housed the Barbershop, PX, Laundry.
etc. Weeds are everywhere and tile building is a disaster. The Gym and
bowling alley still stand. So does the EM club. The EM club is a furniture
showroom and warehouse for Mobel Mauscr. Further on, to the left the hangers
are being demolished - just a huge pile of rubble remains. Further down,
to my surprise, the old operations building (circa 1958) was still standing
but, occupied bv a warehouse. The Chapel building still stands. The NCO
club is occupied by a Private School for children but then will soon be
moved out. The Snack Bar has been demolished. Remaining buildings untouched
so far are: The old BOQ and adjoining Video store, new BOQ (l958). the
Medical Center, Officers Club and 4 Staff Officers quarters. The old Enlisted
Mens quarters are being completely, renovated by Adidis for Offices (every
one of them). I could not take a decent photo because of all the construction
equipment surrounding the buildings. But they certainly do not look the
same as we remember.
Herzo Base, as we remember it is practically
gone. The future tho, looks bright because Adidis has purchased or is in
the process of purchasing the entire base from the City. I read in todays
newspaper that plans have been proposed by Adidis to build a workers restaurant
and fitness center. And a cafeteria to begin in November. This will require
that 302 trees be cut down. A small lake (160m x 30m x 3.5m deep) will
be dug directly in front of the Restaurant/cafeteria Terrace. The Golf
Course has been improved and is owned bv Adidis and they plan to expand
the course to 18 holes.
Through a mutual friend, Burgermcister
Lang invited me to his office for a 1-hour chat about old times. I was
a 2nd Lt. here in 1958-59 and Commander of Herzo Base in 1969-70. I did
not know him then. We talked about a possible re- union of Herzo Base Survivors
during the Herzo Volksfest (July 1999 or 2000). I believe I read something
in one of the newsletters about this idea. He was very receptive to the
idea and said that any plans should be firm, at least six months prior
to the reunion date. Friends have told me that the German folks in town
would probably invite members to stay with them instead of Hotels, pensions.
But that is conjecture on my part and on theirs.
I took around 30 photos and I will be forwarding
them by separate package. I hope you find them interesting. You may have
them for historical purposes. I will mail this letter as soon
as I return home. About November 10th.